Saturday, 18 March 2017

A Saturday rant

Although why it should be a "Saturday" rant I have no idea. There really is nothing special about Saturdays that makes me rant. Any day will do!

The local council (Brighton & Hove City Council - just in case you are interested, which you probably aren't) seems determined to make life difficult for the motorist. It was two or three years ago that parking charges on the sea front were increased to £20 a day. At that time, each individual parking bay had its own meter that had to be fed with coins. No coin of a denomination greater than £1 was accepted, so any visitor wanting to park for the day on the sea front (always assuming he could find a space) was faced with the problem of having to insert twenty £1 coins. No councillor or official seemed to question whether or not a visitor would come armed with £20 in pound coins!

There have been several other things done to make life difficult for drivers: taking one lane of a two-lane carriageway for a cycle lane which is rarely used by cyclists; marking bus lanes that are operational 24 hours a day (not simply in rush hours); imposing an almost city-wide 20mph speed limit - which is ignored by nearly every driver, including police drivers.

OK, I have learned to live with most of those problems - all of them, in fact. But this week I came across another.

"Residents only" parking areas have slowly spread outwards from the centre but there are always a few spaces that residents can use but non-residents as well, so long as they pay at the nearby meter. Many of these meters have been replaced by new ones that do not take money. To park in those areas drivers must first download an app onto their phones and then pay br credit or debit card when they park. Which is OK if you have a suitable phone. I don't. To make matters worse, the council imposes a handling charge for payment by card. So, to pay for a hour's parking, which costs £1, the driver has to pay a surcharge of 15p. That represents an increase in the cost of no less than 15%!


But the council did promise that, in each street subject to paying, there would be a machine accepting cash.

On one afternoon each week I collect my granddaughter from school. Parking is usually easier in the street at the back of the school, so that is where I head. This street suns roughly north-south, and on the west side of the street parking is restricted to residents only. The back entrance to the school is halfway along the east side. Parking on this side is available for non-residents but on one side of the entrance drivers must pay by card only. So it has been my practice to find a space the other side of the entrance where there is a machine accepting coins. Or there was such a machine. This week I arrived to find a completely new machine, a machine that accepts credit cards. But not cash. I ahd taken coins to pay for parking - but I had no card with me, so I was unable to pay. Luckily, I was not ticketed by a warden. If I had been, I would have gone to court if necessary.

I have to wonder how the council expects to receive payment from people who, for one reason or another, have no credit or debit card. And can they arbitrarily decide not to accept coins of the realm, coins which are legal tender? I wish I knew how to find out.

1 comment:

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

You know, of course, that it was a hired minion who convinced your council that this the manner by which revenues from parking must be handled.
They pointed out the negatives of having other minions carrying around bags of cash.
There was no thought on anyone's part about convenience for those who actually employ them.